Orlando City managed to squander yet another lead on a set piece in the 78th minute to come away with yet another draw this season -- the club's 12th (the MLS record is quickly approaching). Sadly, it came against the last place team in the Eastern Conference, the Chicago Fire. What can we take away from this typical result of this season?
Kaká and Larin
Let’s start off on a positive note. Kaká had a very solid game, and Larin got back on the score sheet. As they have time and time before, they did it together. In the ninth minute, the captain fed the ball into the area to Larin, who stuck out his left foot and tied the game up after Chicago’s sixth-minute goal. Later in that half, Servando Carrasco crossed a beautiful pass in to Larin for the header, but the Canadian's shot went off the left post and fell at Kaká’s feet. The Brazilian then deftly put it in to give Orlando the lead. Thus ends the good stuff.
An Off Game for Shea
Actually I’m being pretty kind with that subheader. This may have been one of Brek Shea’s worst games as a Lion. He had six opportunities on goal, and of those four were just plain bad -- complete and total misses. One actually wasn’t his fault, as Kaká put a cross in just behind him. The other he put on target, but it was easily handled by Chicago keeper Sean Johnson. It wasn’t just that his shots were off on the night. Right from the start his passes were off, and he had plenty of giveaways. If it wasn’t for an injury to Cristian Higuita, he almost certainly would have been taken out of the game.
Bendik Not His Usual Self
Most of this season, Joe Bendik has been a bright spot on the defensive side of the ball. Yesterday was not one of those days. Six saves on 18 shots, but two got past. Perhaps it's weariness or frustration with the back line, but Bendik was not his usual self in Bridgeview yesterday afternoon. That's not to say he didn’t have some good saves, because he did. But the goalkeeping really wasn’t up to the level that we’ve come to expect from the Orlando City stopper.
A Tale of (Two) Bad Defenses
If this game had been against any other team it probably wouldn’t have ended in a draw. Fortunately, the Chicago defense was just as porous as the Orlando City defense. Not to take anything away from Kaká or Cyle Larin and their goals, but it was probably like practice just a bit. On our side of the field, despite the occasional good play, the defense pushed up too far, and was out of position often. This has happened all season, but yesterday it happened when Bendik wasn’t his best, and it hurt.
Yet Another Draw
Twelve. Twelve draws. There’s a good chance that Orlando City could tie or break the record for draws in an MLS season. That isn’t something that a team trying to make the playoffs should strive for. Now, while we know that there has been upheaval with personnel and coaches this season, it’s still a letdown, given the goals that this team had coming into the season. Remember the draw to start the season? That felt like a win. Now think about any of the last six draws. Have any of those truly felt like a win? No. We’re sick of them, though to be fair, they’re still better than losses.
There you have it. My five takeaways from a disappointing draw at Chicago. What else did you see? Let us know in the comments.